Be careful going to the Downtown Cayman Comedy Club if laughing hurts you. Sitting in front of two top-class international comedians a night (well three, with Cayman’s very own Michael Powell, better known perhaps by his stage-name, Big Kahuna who acts as MC) will make your sides ache with laughter and tears stream down your face. But the fact of the matter is, as Kathy Delaney who started the club said, “We all need a good laugh in Cayman.” That’s true, and actually, it’s biblical too: “A merry heart doeth good, like a medicine.” After I had visited the Downtown Cayman Comedy Club (situated in Sharkeez Bar and Grill on the Waterfront) I felt as if I had taken some of the very best medicine around.
Quality standup does you good because it helps you see the world in perspective, and also helps you to not take yourself too seriously, and that’s really something we all need. The new club has comedy acts every evening from Wednesday to Sunday, and admission includes the all-you-can eat buffet. There is also, very thoughtfully, a special bus which picks people up from hotels and takes them home again, for a modest extra charge. As soon as I walked in, I had a great feeling about it. People were very friendly and made you feel special, and the buffet looked and smelt (and tasted!) divine. It’s a family-run business, and you are really made to feel like family. It is operated by Roshaine Jackson, Mike and Kathy Delaney, and partnered with Alan Simpson from Sharkeez Bar and Grill.
According to Kathy, she was the very first person to bring stand-up to the Cayman Islands. For those of you who remember it, The Coconuts Club was situated up along Seven Mile Beach, just before you got to where the Ritz-Carlton is today. It started in 1990, and finished in 1998. There were some faces from the ‘good ole days,’ too, on the opening night: Ken Evans and Louis Ramey are both big names in the US standup scene, and now have more than half a century of experience between them, and some members of the audience had come out, specially to see them, because they remembered them from Coconuts all those years before.
I am so glad that they have got Big Kahuna to introduce the acts. He used to be at Coconuts too, and Cayman should be very proud of him because he is really just as good as the headliners he was introducing. He is witty and clever and has a natural gift for making people laugh. I remember seeing him from before, when he performed at the Sunshine Suites and he still had a list of jokes about his girlfriend Big Janet: “She asked me, do these shorts make me look fat? I said, ‘I don’t know. Lift your belly up so we can see them,” and, “her photograph album weight 200 lbs.”
Ken Evans sparkled like a mischievous imp as soon as he got onstage, as he told story after story about real life, including sad events healed through the medicine of laughter. “If something crappy happens to you, then laugh about it – that’s what its about,” he said. He tells it like it is, and doesn’t hold anything back. As a cancer survivor, he took us through some of his experiences during treatment, such as seeing the hospital monitor flat-lining, and then calling for the nurse who had forgotten to plug it in. “ ‘What’s the matter, Mr. …?’ Answer: ‘I think I just died.’” And the observation that, however old you are, when you visit home, to your parents you are still a child: “Mom had an Easter-egg hunt just for me.”
Louis Ramey was next. His comic timing and delivery was perfect as he interacted with the audience, picking people out at random. One of his themes was that none of the men in the room deserved the women they were with (with a sub-text that he really deserved them instead): “You make a very beautiful couple. Well, half of you make a very beautiful couple,” and, “How long have you two been together? Nine years? Sweetie, you must be so bored.” Then he described different kinds of love that were apparent in the room: “Over there is mature love; just staying together because of the house.”
For the young men he had one piece of advice for when you find that special woman who makes life paradise on earth for you: Don’t mess up. “It can happen so easily…drink a little bit too much rum on the beach and then you say something you shouldn’t have said...and then, there she is, she’s packed her bags and you never see her again. Then one day you find yourself telling jokes in a seafood restaurant.”